Health to the Maxwell's vet'ran chief!
Health, ay unsour'd by care or grief:
Inspir'd, I turn'd Fate's sybil leaf
This natal morn;
I see thy life is stuff o' prief,
Scarce quite half worn.
This day thou metes three score eleven,
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven
(The second sight, ye ken, is given
To ilka Poet)
On thee a tack o' seven times seven
Will yet bestow it.
If envious buckies view wi' sorrow
Thy lengthen'd days on this blest morrow,
May desolation's lang teeth'd harrow,
Nine miles an hour,
Rake them like Sodom and Gomorrah,
In brunstane stoure!
But for thy friends, and they are mony,
Baith honest men and lasses bonnie,
May couthie fortune, kind and cannie,
In social glee,
Wi' mornings blythe and e'enings funny
Bless them and thee!
Fareweel, auld birkie! Lord be near ye,
And then the Deil he daur na steer ye;
Your friends ay love, your faes ay fear ye;
For me, shame fa' me,
If neist my heart I dinna wear ye
While BURNS they ca' me!
Dumfries, 18 Feb. 1792.